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Choosing a PHR

How Do I Find and Choose a Personal Health Record (PHR)?

There are many types of PHRs available today, from a variety of organizations. Some Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plans offer PHRs, so if you are a member of a health plan, check the Plan website, or contact the member service department to find out if one is available to you now. Some PHRs are offered by doctors, and others are provided by independent companies who create and maintain these tools on your behalf, and might be able to get your health information from your doctor or health plan if you give them appropriate permission.

To choose a PHR, here are the kinds of questions you should ask:
  • What kind of information can I store in the PHR, such as diagnoses, medications and other personal information?
  • What kinds of functions does the PHR offer, such as the ability to print a list of my medications?
  • Can I give permission to my doctors or family members to check my PHR for me?
  • What kinds of links does the PHR offer for health educational information?
  • If a doctor offers a PHR, can I refill prescriptions through the tool? Or make appointments?
  • Is there a monthly or annual fee to use the PHR?
  • What will happen to my information if I leave the health plan that offers it to me?
  • What will happen to my information if I change doctors?
  • What will happen to my information if the company that provides the PHR goes out of business or becomes part of another company?
  • What are the PHR's privacy and security policies?

If your doctor or health plan does not offer a PHR today, you can check what's available from other companies by clicking here to be taken to a special website:

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Page Last Updated: February 14, 2008


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